28 March 2010

Stop the Stigma

An excerpt from Kathy Cronkite's On The Edge of Darkness.  Kathy Cronkite continues to battle the stigma associated with Depression and speaks on the topic.  You can read her bio with the American Program Bureau here.  This passage is a quote from William Stryon, author of Darkness Visible, struggled with Depression his whole life and I think the excerpt below illustrates my own feelings on Depression and overcoming the shame
                             and stigma associated with it. 

It would lesson my sense of a person's integrity if I learened that he or she had suffered from depression and had hidden it.  I honor or respect whatever presonal reasons they had for that, but I would feel far more respect for people who fully face up to the fact that they have had an illness and tell the world.  I think its a matter of responsibility, because the illness will contyinue to be stigmatized as people try to hide the fact that they've had it.    
Traditionally, people have had fear and repugnance for mental illness, that somehow its spooky.  I read about a poll recently which found that [almost] 50 percent of American people, Mr. and Mrs. Frontporch, believes that there is a moreal incapacity in depression.  On 50 percent, on the other hand, is aware that it is a mental illness to which no moral stigma should be attached.
Granted those figures are probably much different now as this book was published in 1994 but, the idea remains the same.  No one should have to hide the fact that they suffer from a disease.  I know that I have been guilty of doing just that in my own life.  I hid the fact that I had depression and didn't admit it, even to myself, for years.  So part of my mission in sharing this with you is to spread the word that Depression is a disease and that you shouldn't hide it.  We need to show the world that Depression is a disease that may not be curable but is treatable and that no moral stigma should ever be attached to a disease that you truly have no control over.  So go to your library and pick up a copy of Darkness Visible, On The Edge of Darkness or another book about mental health and give it a read.  The more we know, the better we can combat it, so help stop the stigma, educate yourself about mental health. 

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